Please PAUSE the video after each step to draw at your own pace (scroll down to see the final drawing).
For the first few steps, don't press down too hard with your pencil. Use light, smooth strokes to begin.
Step 1: Draw two circles as guides for the snow leopard's body. The circles don't have to be perfect. They're just guides. Pay close attention to the placement of the circles. Don't space them out too much.
Step 2: Draw a smaller circle above the left circle as a guide for the snow leopard's head. Notice how they overlap a little.
Step 3: Inside the snow leopard's head, draw two intersecting lines that will help you place the facial features later.
Step 4: Right below where the two lines intersect, draw an oval as a guide for the snow leopard's muzzle.
Step 6: Draw a series of curved lines that connect the circles to form the snow leopard's body.
Step 7: Draw four lines (two below each circle) as guides for the leopard's legs. The lines in the back should angle a bit.
Step 8: Draw a long curved line on the right side for the snow leopard's tail.
That's it for the initial sketch! From this point on, press harder with your pencil to get a more defined sketch.
Step 9: Draw the snow leopard's eyes using the intersecting lines as guides for placement. The shape of the eye is similar to a football. Inside each eye, draw a circle for the eyeball and a smaller shaded circle inside that for the pupil.
Step 10: Draw the nose inside the muzzle. Start with an upside-down triangle, then curve the sides more to make the shape less rigid. Draw some dark circles on the lower sides for the leopard's nostrils.
Step 11: Draw the muzzle as a line below the nose that splints in two and curves up. Then draw a curved line under it for the snow leopard's chin. Use quick, short strokes to represent fur.
Step 12: Draw whiskers inside the muzzle by drawing quick, short strokes on either side.
Step 13: Use the arcs as guides to draw the snow leopard's ears. Draw quick, short strokes within them to make them furry.
Step 14: Use the initial circle as a guide to draw the rest of the leopard's head. Remember to use quick, short strokes for a furry look!
Step 15: Using the initial lines as guides, draw the short, stocky front legs. Draw lightly at first. When you like what you have, go ahead and darken it. Surround the initial line with quick, short strokes to give it mass and draw some lines at the bottom for the toes. Now do the same for the leg on the other side.
Step 16: Draw the hind legs using the same technique. Surround the line by sketching lightly at first. Then darken it using quick, short strokes. Curve the hind legs back a bit and don't forget the snow leopard's toes!
Step 17: Use the initial lines as guides to draw the rest of the body. Snow leopards live in cold environments, so use longer strokes to give the coat a fluffier look. 18. Draw the snow leopard's tail using the curved line as a guide. Snow leopards have the longest tails of all the big cats that they use to keep warm, so make the tail big and fluffy.
Step 19 (optional): You can skip to step 20 for a sketchy look or erase as much as you can of the initial guide lines for a cleaner look. Don't worry about erasing them all. It's okay to leave some behind. Also re-draw any final sketch lines you may have accidentally erased.
Step 20: Something's missing on this snow leopard... the spots and rosettes! Quick, draw them! Start by drawing small spots throughout the entire face. Then move on to the snow leopard's body drawing bigger spots and rosettes. Rosettes are like misshapen circles that have openings and don't close all the way. Draw them all over the body. They don't have to be perfect. The sketchier they are, the more it looks like they are part of the snow leopard's fur. The rosettes get bigger the further back along the body they are. Drawing the pattern on the fur can be very time consuming, so be patient and take breaks. Pause the video or use reference for accuracy in the placement of the rosettes.
Step 21 (optional): Add some shading to give your drawing more dimension and volume. Pick the direction of the light source when shading so that the shadows are consistent with it. Draw a cast shadow underneath. This helps ground the snow leopard so it doesn't appear to be floating.
Step 22 (optional): You can add more value throughout your snow leopard drawing for extra detail. Vary the pressure on your pencil to get different degrees of tonal value.